By Paula Whitenight
The busy time of the year is knocking at the door and salons from coast to coast are gearing up for the promise of increased traffic. National expos are behind us and new equipment and products are in place. The anticipation of a spectacular season is in high gear.
Even with the busy season right around the corner, sales, cash flow and budgets are on our minds every day. As a business owner, you take steps that will enable you to offer your customers the absolute best available in this industry. Stocking your shelves with the newest products and updating your equipment is an excellent way to increase your sales and income.
However; while focusing on the retail part of your business is a must, the internal workings is equally – if not more – important than what you have on your shelves. The person that is answering your phone or greeting your customers when they enter your salon set the tone for the experience that can be expected from your establishment.
Excellent customer service is simply good business. It creates satisfied, loyal customers that will keep coming back time and time again. It may sound elementary, but don’t forget that the level of service received in your salon is typically coming from your employees!
What better time than now to ensure your staff has the tools to promote the excellent service that will enable your salon to shine through the coming season?
• Communicate, communicate and communicate with your staff. Stop and listen to what is going on in your salon. When you keep the lines of communication open at all times, you will be aware of issues or problem areas before they become apparent to the public.
• Educate your staff on all services offered in your business. Knowledge is power. Make sure all employees can answer questions accurately – and if they are unsure about an answer, have them contact you or the store manager. Regulations are ever-changing in our industry, and it is imperative that your staff be up-to-date with the current laws in your county and state.
• Industry certification is extremely important and provides your team with understanding and the tools they need to direct your customers with choices that are correct for them. Your employees are on the front line! Give them the ammunition that will provide them with confidence when dealing with the public.
• Treat your employees as you would your customers. Good customer service starts with good employee morale. Your staff is a valuable asset to your business – and an unhappy employee will potentially have a negative effect on the customer service they provide.
• Set clear and precise company guidelines, goals and incentives. Be sure each employee is aware of what is expected of them and the authority they hold. When your employees feel good about themselves and the company, it comes shining through with the customer service they provide.
• Help avoid losses by setting open and close procedures for your staff. Specific daily tasks help keep your salon and employees safe. Be sure they check all rooms in your business prior to closing to ensure everything is in order and ready for the morning staff. The water supply to sunless units needs to be in the “off” position any time your salon is closed, and all windows and doors should be checked to be sure they are locked before closing down for the night. Lastly, be sure night lighting is in place and alarms or security systems are armed before employees exit for the evening. These are just few tips that will help secure your salon from a potential claim.
• Keeping company morale high also helps protect you from an employee dishonesty loss. When employees enjoy their jobs and are made aware of the value they bring to the business, the chance of internal theft is kept to a minimum.
By turning your customer service “inside out,” you will not only have a happy and devoted staff, you will enhance the service your customers receive, keeping them coming back for more.
And remember – any time you make changes to your business, contact your insurance agent to ensure the proper coverage is in place for your salon!
Paula Whitenight is the tanning salon program manager for Universal Insurance, which has been serving professionals in the indoor tanning industry since 1993. For a competitive, personalized quote or additional information about Universal’s exclusive Tanning Salon program, call 800.844.2101 or visit www.uitanning.com .